Andhra: 'Sarpa Shanti Yagna' being organized to curb snake-related incidents
Officials have found a peculiar solution to rising number of snake bite incidents in Avanigadda mandal of Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh- a 'sarpa shanti yagna.' This yagna is being planned by the state's Endowments Department, district collector B Lakshmikantham confirmed. He believes this will boost the morale of locals. The ritual will take place at Mopidevi's Sri Subrahmanyeswara Swamy Temple on August 29.
Context: 144 snake bites cases reported, 2 farmers died
In the recent past, 144 incidents of snake bites have been reported. Most of the victims are farmers, and two have lost their lives too. Others were admitted at government hospitals. Notably, the habitats of snakes and reptiles were destroyed after incessant rains. As a result, they entered fields. Locals have been advised not to panic as hospitals and health-centers have enough anti-venom medicines.
Lakshmikantham says along with rituals, scientific methods being used too
"We are supplying anti-venom and snake repellent chemicals in affected areas. We are also launching campaigns on how to avoid snakebites. Homeopathy drugs are also available. A ritual will be conducted but we are also using scientific methods to stop this," Lakshmikantham said.
Not pooja but anti-venom vials will curb incidents, feel many
The yagna, which will be performed by 15 priests, has got resistance from many. Jana Vignana Vedika State secretary K Srinivas called it promotion of superstitions. He said every day some kind of pooja happened at the temple, but it didn't yield any results. "Instead of performing poojas incurring huge expenses, the officials should focus on the supply of adequate stock of anti-venom vials," he added.
Defending ritual, collector says everyone's doing their bit
However, Lakshmikantham felt the pooja was a good idea. He said everyone was doing their bit to curb the incidents, from doctors to NGOs. "Similarly, the Endowments Department has come forward to perform Sarpayagam and Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Pooja," he said and added this shouldn't be seen as a superstitious practice. The government has also announced Rs. 2,000 aid for the family of victims.
Lakshmikantham says homeopathy drugs being distributed, but are they efficient?
Further, Lakshmikantham said doctors were distributing 'Naja-200', a homoeopathic drug for treating snakebites. But its efficiency is questionable. A wildlife expert Ajay Kartik said the homoeopathic drug couldn't counter snake venom. "Anti-venom is the only effective drug," he said. But homoeopathy doctors said it has been tested and can work even if the most venomous snakes bite.